Wandering around the urban streets of Cambodia, children start popping up in the usual suspect places. Maneuvering adult-sized bicycles, behind makeshift soccer balls, inventing a sidewalk game with friends, motorbiking with family (seven per bike appears to be the limit). Kids being kids with Cambodia kids being no different than their counterparts everywhere. Saturday morning in Siam Reap is no exception for scouting small members of the human race. You can find them hanging out at parks attending and watching weddings, showing off special occasion attire, waiting out the photo sessions. Most are oblivious to passersby and tourist gawkers, let alone the street photography.
Cambodia, like every poor country has street kids, orphaned and neglected. Their home is the outdoors. Along with the draw of ancient ruins at the UNESCO Angkor Wat site and a Vegas style neon main street, Siam Reap, has become a popular tourist destination with child exploitation and predation an unfortunate side effect. It is not difficult to locate a few children in any mix with no watchful, attendant adult eyes over them. No flashy neon main street festivities for these kids, survival is their game.
Some feel people who photograph strange children in developing countries, without permission, are predators. Others are taking an opportunity to capture innocent, local colour. What do yo think?